Texas DPS trooper arrested on child sex crime charges in Comal County

SAN ANTONIO – A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper was arrested Monday on child sex crime charges, the department confirmed on Wednesday.

Fredis Rivas, 34, was taken into custody in Comal County. He was arrested on suspicion of possession of child pornography and indecency with a child.

The investigation was handled by the Office of the Attorney General with help from the Texas Rangers, a spokeswoman said.

“DPS takes these allegations very seriously and, on Sept. 28, Rivas was served with notice of the Director’s preliminary decision to terminate his employment,” according to a statement provided by the department.

Rivas worked as a trooper assigned to Luling, officials said. He has been with the department since 2013.

DPS officials declined to release additional details about the allegations against Rivas.

Records showed Rivas remained in jail on Wednesday.



U.S. will fly ‘massive’ number of Haitians from Texas to Haiti, official says

DEL RIO, Texas — The Biden administration plans the wide-scale expulsion of Haitian migrants from a small Texas border city by putting them on on flights to Haiti starting Sunday, an official said Friday, representing a swift and dramatic response to thousands who suddenly crossed the border from Mexico and gathered under and around a bridge.

Details are yet to be finalized but will likely involve five to eight flights a day, according to the official with direct knowledge of the plans who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. San Antonio, the nearest major city, may be among the departure cities.

Another administration official speaking on condition of anonymity expected two flights a day at most and said all migrants would be tested for COVID-19.

U.S. authorities closed traffic to vehicles and pedestrians in both directions at the only border crossing in Del Rio, Texas, after chaos unfolded Friday and presented the administration with a new and immediate challenge as it tries to manage large numbers of asylum-seekers who have been reaching U.S. soil.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it was closing the border crossing with Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, “to respond to urgent safety and security needs.” Travelers were being directed to Eagle Pass, Texas, 57 miles away.

Haitians crossed the Rio Grande freely and in a steady stream, going back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico through knee-deep water, with some parents carrying small children on their shoulders. Unable to buy supplies in the U.S., they returned briefly to Mexico for food and cardboard to settle, temporarily at least, under or near the bridge in Del Rio, a city of 35,000 that has been severely strained by migrant flows in recent months.



During this year’s deep freeze, the Texas power grid was minutes from disaster because of dysfunctional generators

In February, a record-setting winter storm named Uri plunged the state of Texas into subfreezing temperatures and overwhelmed the state’s electricity grid. Millions of Texans were left without power for days as a result.

At the time, the state’s grid operator said the Texas electricity grid was just minutes away from total failure, which could have led to months of blackout. Transmission companies were forced to reduce power to avoid that outcome.

But as some experts put it, the February storm only exposed the vulnerabilities of the state’s electricity grid.

It turns out, nine of the state’s 13 main generators were out of commission when the storm hit. Moreover, six of its 15 secondary generators were also not working properly at times because of freeze damage and problems getting fuel. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) didn’t report those problems at the time.

Poor performance could have led to months of blackout for Texans

Power plants produce electricity. But the amount of electricity they produce should match the demand from homes and businesses. This balance between supply and demand creates a stable electric-system frequency.

If there is no balance between supply and demand, an electricity grid can collapse. If that happens, black starts, special generators capable of starting up without external electricity from a grid, would kick in to restore electric service. Black starts are usually tiny combustion turbines or hydroelectric powerhouses.

When a black start is activated, it sends power down an isolated line to a power plant to jolt its controls, pumps and motors back to life. Once those components are up and running, the power plant can start producing electricity again. Normally, it may take more than one black start to get a big power plant running.

Put simply, black starts keep humans from going back to the Stone Age in case of an uncontrolled grid collapse, said Pat Wood III, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and former head of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT).

The Texas electricity grid’s black starts weren’t working properly when the storm hit. If ERCOT had completely lost control of the situation, the spotty performance of the black starts could have left millions of Texans without power for months. Wood said the spotty performance of Texas’s black starts stunned him.

What happened in Texas exposed a glaring problem that should be fixed fast, said Wood. “[Black starts] should be the most secure facilities in the country. We can’t afford to kick it down the road again.”

But despite the total grid collapse that almost happened in Texas, ERCOT officials are reluctant to share information about the state’s black start units for fear of compromising the grid’s security.

Currently, there is no publicly available list of black start resources nationally. ERCOT has also refused to point out the location of its 28 black start units.

Black starts are not profitable